Letter: Responsibly investing and responsive to concerns

My colleagues on the Yale Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility and I read with great interest the article by guest columnists Anna Robinson-Sweet, Luke Studebaker and Mac Herring regarding the conversations last year between the ACIR and the Undergraduate Organizing Committee regarding the labor practices at HEI Hospitality LLC (“Irresponsible investing,” Oct. 26). As the columnists observe, the ACIR met several times over the course of the year with the UOC on this issue, and we held a public meeting open to everyone in the Yale community at which HEI was the main topic of discussion.

After these meetings with the UOC and others, and after considerable discussion, analysis and investigation on our own, the ACIR concluded that there was not sufficient factual support to justify requesting the Yale Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility to take any action with respect to HEI. In other words, after much reflection, we respectfully — and unanimously — disagreed with the position advocated by the UOC with respect to HEI.

Of course, as I think we made clear during our months of meetings and discussion, the ACIR not only respects the position taken by the UOC, but we also are grateful to the members in the UOC with whom we worked for the thoughtful and well-informed nature of the discourse. All of us on the ACIR agreed that our conversations with the UOC were constructive, civil and in keeping with the best traditions of the University.

We at ACIR hope that these conversations continue. In particular, if the UOC has new facts or information about HEI’s labor practices, we hope that they will share those with us.

Our main objection with the column is the assertion that ACIR “has been unresponsive” in any way to the UOC. While we did not provide the UOC with the response they wanted, I think that, on reflection, the UOC would agree that the ACIR was actually extremely responsive to their initiatives.

Jonathan Macey

Oct. 27

The writer is the Sam Harris Professor of Corporate Law, Corporate Finance and Securities Law at Yale Law School and the Chair of the Yale Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility.


  • Thank you

    Thank you for writing this column. When I had the opportunity to speak to several members of the UOC last year, they didn’t even know basic facts about how the endowment, or the economy as a whole, operated. It seemed as though they took some basic arguments they were fed by the Labor Union, and accepted them as fact. I am glad someone in a position of power was willing to come out and say, “we don’t agree with you” and bluntly state their case. Again, thank you.

  • Hieronymus

    Agreed. Well-balanced response; respectful even (far more than *I* would have been).

    Also, to #1: yes, UOC appears defined by ignorance of economics principles and dogged adherence to the Party and the party line.

  • Agreed

    Both comments hit the nail on the head so I have nothing else to add other than my full agreement with the Letter.

  • omg thank u so much !!!!

    glad to see the ACIR working so effectively – just as it did in the south africa case!!!

    OH, WAIT. that didn’t happen.


    wake up people. this committee has never worked and it probably never will.

    keep on the fight, uoc.


    The Yale Endowment is run by the Illuminati. WAKE UP SHEEPLE.

  • Hieranus

    The ACIR should not be guided solely by “economic principles,” a clearly stated intent in the original creation of the committee 30+ years ago. In some and/or many cases, other “principles” are necessary for promoting and/or maintaining social justice(some people/groups/institutions are defined by ignorance of these principles), and this is something a university such as Yale might be interested or perhaps actively engaged in. Perhaps Yale is only interested in being interested in this, or maybe even only interested in seeming interested in this. Here at Yale, some students are actively engaged in this, and some/most others are actively engaged in not this. In fact, in this respect, it is a very uneven dichotomy. And in fact, this is why few people here recognize this unfortunate situation(the dichotomy, aforementioned), which is, alone and in fact, unfortunate. And so it is clear that in fact the situation at Yale is unfortunate in more than one way. BUT WE ALL STILL GET THE DISCOUNTS AT THE J CREW!!